Aug 29

1963 At The Lincoln Memorial

It was 54 years ago to be exact, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial August 28th

He spoke to protest and petition America’s sense of morality about the injustices in Alabama, Mississippi and other parts of the country. He gave the most memorable speech of this century and declared his vision of equality. King’s speech was a large but peaceful protest in the midst of a violent and sometimes fatal climate that became a revolutionary era ripe for civil rights, judicial justice, fair housing and a demand for human dignity. Dr. King led the crusade for justice using non-violent tactics in Birmingham, Alabama and by May racial bombings took place.

In 1963 we were fighting for housing rights, criminal justice, and civil rights just as the Klu Klux Klan and George Wallace sought to protect the long defeated confederacy and institutionalized segregation. Today we fight for affordable housing, equality in our criminal justice system, healthcare and voting rights. White nationalists wanted to deny us our rights and today they still protest the same thing as was seen in Virginia.

The Klu Klux Klan held high ranking positions in government and continued to push their regressive agendas. Our new federal administration has seen a repeat of this. Alabama’s Governor George Wallace challenged the federal mandates for integration and in June of 1963 vowed to defy any and all orders regarding the University of Alabama. Federal troops were deployed. Today the 45th ignores constitutional laws. A day after the university incident Medgar Evers was assassinated in Mississippi. A few months later Dr. King delivered his speech. Click the photo below and listen:

17th May 1957: Back view of American civil rights leader and Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968), dressed in black robes and holding out his hands towards the thousands of people who have gathered to hear him speak near the Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC during the Prayer Pilgrimage. The Washington Monument can be seen in the background. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The martyrs of this tumultuous year were: William Lewis Moore who was a white postman who tried to deliver a letter to the Mississippi governor urging tolerance, he was shot, Medgar Evers, an NAACP activist for integration, he was assassinated by sniper, Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley were young girls who all died at their church during a racial bombing, Virgil Lamar Ware was a 13 year old boy who was shot and killed while on a bike. Many people all over the country struggled to understand what was and happening and why.

Musicians such as Nina Simone got in on the revolutionary train and wrote a song titled, “Mississippi goddam,” in response to the assassination of Medgar Evers and the bombing of the four young black girls. During  the event Mahalia Jackson, Marian Andrerson, the Freedom singers, Odetta, Peter Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez all sang.

Dr. King was willing to put his life on the line, face down fear, fight for the opportunity to earn a decent living and go to the best schools. He fought for African Americans, he fought for us all. This does not sound much different than the rights we still fight for today. We must unite for this cause and continue to press forward. Watch this documentary of the white nationalists in Charlottesville at your own risk as they chant, “You will not replace us.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIrcB1sAN8I “Charlottesville: Race and Terror”

Be not discouraged. Let Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy be a testament to our faith in progress and remember that Obama was president for eight years.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.africanamericancaucus.info/2017/08/29/1963-at-the-lincoln-memorial/

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